Carolina Hurricanes outwork Sharks to earn 5-2 win, San Jose winless streak reaches 3 games

By Jon Swenson - Last updated: Wednesday, October 20, 2010 - Save & Share - Leave a Comment

San Jose Sharks Carolina Hurricanes goal Joni Pitkanen

San Jose Sharks Carolina Joe Pavelski Torrey Mitchell Tuumo Ruutu hockey hit

San Jose Sharks center Joe Pavelski backhand spin-o-rama shot on goal

The Carolina Hurricanes played a tighter 60 minutes and outworked the Sharks en route to a 5-2 win at HP Pavilion on Tuesday night. The performance drew a whithering critique from San Jose head coach Todd McLellan. “You can look at the offensive chances, the number of empty nets that we missed tonight, the number of chances we had around the net, we have had absolutely no polish,” he told reporters after the game. “Tonight it was clearly on our tape for two goals.”

Bad bounces and costly turnovers contributed to three straight Carolina Hurricane goals to start the game. Shorthanded in the first period, a pass to the point deflected off Dan Boyle directly to right wing Chad LaRose. A hard charging Eric Staal sprinted down the left wing to create a 2-on-1, and the former 3-time allstar buried the one-timer far side. It was the second straight game where San Jose allowed a shorthanded goal.

The mistakes piled up into an almost comical sequence for the next Hurricanes goal. After defenseman Niclas Wallin hammered Tuomo Ruutu against the boards just inside the blueline, flamboyant rookie Jeff Skinner took the puck down behind the net for a wraparound shot on goal. Three San Jose Sharks collapsed on Antti Niemi as he made the save, but the puck was kicked in front out of their reach. Defenseman Tim Gleason stepped into a big slapshot, and Erik Cole scored from in tight for his first goal of the season.

“I think every goal they scored was on our stick a little bit. We gave it up, and it went into the back of the net,” Joe Thornton said post-game. “You are not going to win a game when you are giving the other team grade A scoring chances. We are just making mistakes that shouldn’t happen.”

Another unintentional mistake came 2:43 into the second period. Playing in his first NHL game, from behind his own net defenseman Mike Moore tried to rim the puck around the boards and out of the zone. The puck deflected off of a forechecking Patrick Dwyer, and floated down the middle of the ice. Fresh off a line change Chad LaRose sprinted to the loose puck to keep it in the zone, then fed an open Jusi Jokinen on the left side. Antti Niemi gave up a rebound on the shot by Jokinen, and Dwyer deposited it in the back of the net. Rookies Mike Moore and John McCarthy were too close to the net to challenge Dwyer on his shot.

“The number of outnumbered rushes we gave up on the powerplay, unacceptable,” Todd McLellan said. “Until we figure out and buy in to the right formula for a win, it is not going to change. Either the players will mentally engage or come and compete like they are supposed to, or we will keep wallowing like we are right now.” After repeatedly calling out unnamed top players in the preseason to deliver their best peformances, McLellan believed the issue of an acceptable compete level had been addressed. After the third straight loss early into the 2010-11 season, he noted that was not the case. “I thought we had their attention before this one, we miscalculated there,” McLellan said.

The sellout crowd of 17,562 fans were displeased with the opening 25 minutes of the game, and there was no hesitation to voice that displeasure. Patrick Marleau quickly turned that into cheers with his first goal of the season 6:34 into the second period. Marleau took a short pass by Joe Thornton off the wall, and sent a cross crease pass to a pinching Dan Boyle. Continuing to drive the net, Marleau tipped a Boyle shot by Cam Ward. Just over three minutes later in the period Marleau buried his second goal of the game on the power play at 9:46. He beat the Caroline defense to a Setoguchi dump in, then spun off of Anton Babchuk and drove straight to the net. As Ward made the first move to go down, Marleau buried the puck up high to bring the Sharks within one.

“At 3-0, you have to have a little bit of pride, and you are going to play hard,” Todd McLellan said of the attempted comeback in the second period. “We are scoring two goals a night and playing a wide open, free wheeling game. It is not going to happen.” After the game Patrick Marleau said a strong second period was not enough. “One period is not going to win you any games.”

The Sharks top defensive pair of Dan Boyle and Douglas Murray had a difficult night. In an attempt to play the puck from the corner up to Joe Thornton on the half boards, Eric Staal lifted the stick of Murray to create a turnover. With most of the Sharks peeling up to start a breakout, Staal turned and found an unchecked Chad LaRose with his stick on the ice in front of the net. LaRose scored his first goal of the season. Another turnover at center ice lead to the Hurricanes fifth and final goal of the night. After Thornton lost the puck near his bench, right wing Tom Kostopoulus drove down the left wing and then dropped a pass to defenseman Joni Pitkanen. Pitkanen wound up with a full backswing on a slapshot, and drove it cleanly past Niemi up high. The result was a 5-2 win for the Carolina Hurrianes, and a 3-game losing streak for the San Jose Sharks.

Despite troubling turnovers and periods of loose play, there were seeds of a postive turnaround for the Sharks. Joe Pavelski finished a -2, with 15:38 of ice time and 6 shots on goal, but it was hardly representative of several shifts where he simply dominated play on the ice. In one sequence after getting up to speed he lowered his shoulder against a Canes defenseman in a neutral ice battle for possession. Pavelski didn’t break stride in his path to the puck, and created a solid breakaway scoring opportunity. Pavelski was noticeable each time he was on the ice, similar to Eric Staal for Carolina. While Patrick Marleau and Joe Thornton finished a combined -5, they looked viscerally angered at times after their second straight frustrating performance on home ice. Thornton added an assist to push his assist streak to 4 straight games. The Sharks power play has scored at least one goal in 4 straight games, with a 6-for-20 success rate (30%). Defenseman Mike Moore earned 7:35 of ice time in his first NHL start. Checking line center Scott Nichol started his 500th NHL game. The Sharks dressed 7 defenseman and 11 forwards.

A photo gallery from the game is available here, video highlights via youtube are available here.

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